American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies, N. of Mt. Alberta

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1952

N. of Mt. Alberta. Until recently, a group of six peaks just N. of Mt. Alberta in Jasper National Park remained unexplored. They form a semicircle at the N. end of the Lynx Creek Valley and range in altitude from 9700 ft. to 10,700 ft. Several of them are described by Thorington in the Climber’s Guide, but it appears that his elevations are definitely low.

The three easternmost peaks which have been ascended are tentatively named Mt. Gec (10,500 ft.), Mt. Nelson (10,300 ft.) and Mt. Smythe (10,700 ft.). The first of these was climbed in 1948, at which time a new short approach to the region was established from the E. (C.A.J., 1949). Sickness in the party prevented attempts on the other peaks.

In August 1951 a party from southern California made another trip into the region. The five members were Gil Roberts, Dale and Frances Ebersbacher, and Charles and Ellen Wilts. Although cursed with very stormy weather, we attempted—and climbed—the other two peaks mentioned above. Mt. Smythe, the highest peak in the area, was climbed in 17 hours by Roberts and Charles and Ellen Wilts. The route lay up the S. face, thence across the left flank of a small hanging glacier to the N.W. arête, then up the arête with two traverses out on the N. face. We thought the ascent very hazardous, because of the ice and snow left by storms of the preceding three days. A snowstorm started about noon on the day of the ascent. The difficulty was such that we considered the use of pitons (about eight) imperative.

Ascent of the other peak, Mt. Nelson, was accomplished by all members of the party on the relatively easy W. side. A storm which had started during the night continued throughout the ascent and left nearly six inches of fresh snow on the mountain. On this account, the final traverse of the S. ridge to the summit was nerve- racking. It was, however, easily accomplished.

The three peaks to the W. are apparently still unclimbed. The westernmost two seemed to offer no interesting problems for the climber, and stormy weather prevented an attempt on the Rock Tower (10,400ft.).

Charles A. Wilts

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